AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1739006 times)

Offline knarf

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 A Florida delivery man was dropping off a washer and dryer at a 75-year-old woman's home when he doused her with a chemical and beat her to death, according to police.

Police and fire crews responded to Evelyn Smith Udell's Boca Raton home on Monday morning where they found her unconscious on her laundry room floor with head injuries and severe burns to her body, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Suspect Jorge Luis Dupre Lachazo, 21, and another delivery man, David Gonzalez, installed the new equipment at Udell's house that morning, where she was the only person home, according to the probable cause affidavit.

 Gonzalez went outside to return phone calls while Lachazo stayed inside to help answer the customer's questions, according to documents.

Gonzalez told police he heard screams and went back inside to find blood on the floor, authorities said. Gonzalez called 911 and Lachazo allegedly fled in the delivery truck, documents said.

After Lachazo was apprehended, he allegedly told investigators that he used a mallet to hit the 75-year-old on the side of her head, knocking her unconscious, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Jorge Luis Dupre Lachazo is accused of beating an elderly woman in Boca Raton, Florida.

 Lachazo allegedly admitted to taking a chemical from the garage and then dousing Udell and the room with it, sparking a fire, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Udell was hospitalized in extremely critical condition on Monday. She died on Tuesday, said Boca Raton police.

 Lachazo was charged with attempted second-degree murder, arson and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on a person over 65 years of age, police said. Amended charges are possible following Udell's death, police said.

"We offer our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones," the police department said in a statement. "We will work with the State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office as we continue to investigate."

The suspect worked for a company which was contracted to deliver the appliance for Best Buy, according to police.

"Beyond working with law enforcement in any way we can, we have suspended our relationship with the small, local company that was sub-contracted to deliver to the customer’s home," Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a statement.

"In the hours after we initially learned what happened, we immediately re-visited our delivery and installation programs and, in the coming days, will do two things: 1) ensure all our processes were followed and 2) work with our delivery partners to do anything more we can to help ensure that this type of tragedy will not happen again," Barry said. "Additionally, we are hiring an independent security firm to review our existing screening, audit and safety programs and share with us their assessment on how we can improve."

He is set to appear in court on Sept. 18. An attorney was not immediately listed.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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When authorities arrived Friday to arrest a 15-year-old in Florida after threats to commit a school shooting showed up on a video game platform, he told them he was joking, they said.
"I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum," the boy wrote using a fake name, according to a Volusia County Sheriff's Office report.

The teen is one of more than two dozen people who have been arrested over threats to commit mass shootings since 31 people were killed in one weekend this month in shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The raft of cases follows a directive by the FBI director immediately after the two early August massacres for agency offices nationwide to conduct a new threat assessment in an effort to thwart more mass attacks.

The FBI was concerned that US-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by the attacks to "engage in similar acts of violence," the agency said in a statement.
Indeed, it was a tip to the FBI that sent sheriff's deputies to the home of the Florida teen, the sheriff's report states. CNN is not naming him because he is a minor.

A woman who said the boy is her son told authorities that kids say things like that all the time and her child should not be treated like a terrorist, body-camera footage from the arrest shows.
Joke or not, such comments are a felony in Florida, the sheriff's department wrote on its Facebook page.
"After the mass violence we've seen in Florida and across the country, law enforcement officers have a responsibility to investigate and charge those who choose to make these types of threatening statements," the post states.
Here are the known threats with publicized arrests that law enforcement agencies have investigated since the Dayton and El Paso shootings:
August 4: A man from the Tampa area called a Walmart and told an employee he would shoot up the store, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The man faces a false threat charge.
August 7: Police in Weslaco, Texas, arrested a 13-year-old boy. The boy will face a charge of terroristic threat for making a social media post that prompted a Walmart to be evacuated, police said on Facebook. The boy's mother brought him to the station.
August 8: A man is accused of walking into a Walmart in Missouri equipped with body armor, a handgun and a rifle less than a week after a gunman killed 22 people in a Texas Walmart says it was a "social experiment" and not intended to cause panic. The 20-year-old was charged with making a terrorist threat.
August 9: A 23-year-old Las Vegas man is charged with possessing destructive devices after authorities found bomb-making materials at his home. The FBI says he was planning to attack a synagogue and a gay bar.
August 9: A 26-year-old Winter Park, Florida, man was arrested after investigators say he posted a threat on Facebook that he was about to have his gun returned and people should stay away from Walmart.
August 10: Officers responded to a threat a man posted on social media, the Harlingen, Texas, Police Department said in a statement. A man was arrested at his home on charges of making a terroristic threat.
August 11: A Palm Beach County, Florida, mother is accused of threatening to carry out a shooting at an elementary school because her children were being moved there, according to CNN affiliate WFTS. The 28-year-old woman is charged with sending a written threat to commit bodily injury.
August 11: A Mississippi teen is accused of making threats in the Lamar County School District, the agency says on Facebook.
August 12: Authorities charged an 18-year-old Ohio man who the FBI says threatened to assault federal law enforcement officers and showed support for mass shootings in a post online. Court documents say that the teen had a stockpile of weapons and ammunition.
August 12: A 25-year-old Jefferson County, West Virginia, man was arrested on charges of making terroristic threats online to kill people, according to CNN affiliate WDVM.
August 13: Albert Lea Police arrested and charged a 15-year-old Minnesota girl for threatening a school shooting on social media.
August 13: A man was arrested in Phoenix after police say he threatened to blow up an Army recruitment center, according to CNN affiliate KTVK.
August 15: A tip from a citizen led Connecticut authorities and the FBI to investigate and arrest a man who they said expressed an interest in committing a mass shooting on Facebook and had weapons and tactical gear, the FBI and Norwalk Police Department said.
August 15: A 15-year-old girl was arrested in Fresno, California, for posting a photo of a Walmart gun case with rifles displayed and the caption, "Don't come to school tomorrow," the city's police chief said. "The teen's very bright future is now stained by this," he said, adding she was booked with making terrorist threats.
August 16: A 15-year-old boy was taken into police custody in Volusia County, Florida, after investigators say he threatened to commit a school shooting in comments on a video game chat platform.
August 16: Two Mississippi juveniles were arrested in connection with threatening messages to two Tupelo schools, placing a school in partial lockdown, according to CNN affiliate WTVA.
August 16: A Florida man was arrested and charged with threatening to commit a mass shooting after his ex-girlfriend alerted authorities to a series of ominous text messages he sent her.
August 16: A 14-year-old in Arizona was arrested by Tempe Police after online threats were made against a school, according to CNN affiliate KNXV.
August 16: A Chicago man, 19, was arrested after police say he threatened to kill people at a women's reproductive health clinic on iFunny, a social media platform where users can post memes, federal prosecutors said Monday.
August 16: A 35-year-old Clarksburg, Maryland, resident was arrested in Seattle after being charged with threatening to kill people and calling for the "extermination" of Hispanics, according to a statement released by the US attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
August 17: New Middletown Police arrested a self-described white nationalist who they say threatened to shoot an Ohio Jewish community center.
August 18: A man was arrested in Reed City, Michigan, after authorities said he posted online videos making threats toward Ferris State University and other locations, according to CNN affiliate WXMI.
August 18: Claremore, Oklahoma, police arrested an 18-year-old who they say made social media threats against police officer families, according to a Facebook post from the Claremore Police Department.
August 19: A 38-year-old truck driver was arrested after making "credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide" planned for Thursday, an FBI special agent said in a sworn affidavit filed in the Southern District of Alabama.

August 19: Maui Police arrested an 18-year-old man after a social media post claimed he intended to "shoot up a school," according to CNN affiliate KITV.
August 19: A 37-year-old Rapid City, South Dakota, man was arrested and charged with threatening to blow up state and federal government agencies, Pennington County Sheriff's Office said in a post on Facebook.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Greenland highlights Trump’s willingness to offend close US allies
« Reply #13802 on: August 21, 2019, 09:03:51 AM »
By cancelling his state visit to Denmark, the US president has again showed his thin skin

Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to cancel his state visit to Denmark after it rejected his unsolicited offer to buy Greenland at a knockdown price took most people by surprise, not least his own ambassador.

“Denmark is ready … Partner, ally, friend”, tweeted Carla Sands, the neophyte US envoy to Copenhagen who was previously an actor and chiropractor. Hours later, it was off.

The embarrassment of Sands, a loyal Trump campaign fundraiser best known until now for her starring role in the 1988 film Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell, elicited scant sympathy from Danes apparently relieved the US president was not coming.

“Hahaha, well maybe your boss should update you about what is going on in his mind. This proves how crazy this administration is,” one Twitter user wrote. Some American respondents apologised for their president’s behaviour.

Greenland’s unsought role in this new Nordic saga, wacky even by Trump’s eccentric standards, has again raised questions about his mental state and a chaotic decision-making process in Washington that often leaves partners and allies out in the cold.

Trump recently secretly ordered military strikes on Iran, then called them off with 10 minutes to go. He caused more Scandinavian amazement and amusement last month when he sent a hostage negotiator to Sweden after the American rapper A$AP Rocky was arrested for common assault.

Anthony Scaramucci, a former communications director for Trump, told the BBC the much-pummelled president was like a punch-drunk boxer still standing in the 12th round with no real idea what he was doing. His handlers should throw in the towel, Scaramucci suggested.

That may be an overly kind explanation. The Greenland episode has also highlighted Trump’s personal rudeness and undiplomatic willingness to offend close US allies. The visit next month was at the invitation of Queen Margrethe II, who, unlike Prince Hamlet, was apparently prepared to tolerate something rotten in the state of Denmark, at least for a couple of days. She will not be amused.

Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, was glacially cool towards the idea of selling Greenland to Trump. She described the US, which maintains a military base in Qaanaaq, also known as Thule, in north-west Greenland, as a valued strategic and Nato partner. But she poured cold water on the purchase, suggesting it smacked of disrespectful neocolonial attitudes.

“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let’s leave it there,” Frederiksen said during a trip to Greenland, a semi-autonomous Danish territory. The attempt to buy it was “absurd”. It is this blunt response that seems to have provoked the thin-skinned Trump to put his trip on ice.

The idea of such deals is not new, though dated. An expansionist US, pursing what was once called its “manifest destiny”, often bought or seized territory in the past. In 1803, it paid Napoleon $15m for a huge area of land ranging from what is now Canada to the south-eastern US, a deal known as the Louisiana purchase.

In 1848, the US relieved Mexico of about half its national territory, including most of what is now California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. In 1867, it bought Alaska from the Russians. In 1898, it took possession of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico after fighting a war with Spain. The US once harboured designs on Cuba and Panama.

But Greenland residents plainly do not want to follow the US Virgin Islands, sold by Denmark in 1917. They have reportedly dismissed Trump’s offer, calling it patronising and unwelcome. Yet the fact the idea was even raised may serve to reinforce longstanding resentment, mostly directed at Copenhagen, that Greenlanders are treated as second-class citizens.

Political tensions have fuelled calls for independence among residents of the vast, sparsely populated island where about 57,000 people occupy 836,000 sq miles. Despite its largely untapped mineral wealth, which is what is said to most interest Trump, it is heavily dependent on more than £400m in annual subsidies from Denmark.

In common with other Arctic territories, Greenland has a recent history of social problems, including high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide among the indigenous Inuit people. Increased tourism has proved a mixed blessing.

Greenland is also disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and global heating. According to a CNN report from Kulusuk this week, scientists say 12.5bn tonnes of ice melted on one day this month – the biggest single-day loss ever recorded. That’s no joke – and it is a problem Trump stubbornly refuses to address.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Cleveland police officer Solomon Nhiwatiwa is accused of urinating on a 12-year-old girl in Euclid after trying to kidnap her.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland police officer tried to kidnap a 12-year-old girl waiting for her school bus and urinated on her while he filmed the interaction, prosecutors said.

Officer Solomon Nhiwatiwa, 34, is charged with attempted kidnapping, pandering obscenity, disseminating material harmful to juveniles, assault, endangering children, child enticement, interfering with custody and public indecency. He is set to be arraigned on Monday.

He was suspended without pay until the case is concluded. He was hired as a police officer in 2014.

“He will be held accountable,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said. “It’s my office’s mission to ensure he never wears the badge of a police officer again.”

The incident happened on Friday on Euclid Avenue in Euclid. Nhiwatiwa was arrested on Tuesday.

The girl was sitting on the sidewalk waiting to be picked by a school bus. Nhiwatiwa drove up and tried to entice the girl to get inside his car by asking if she needed a ride to school, prosecutors said.

The girl repeatedly refused and Nhiwatiwa initially drove off. He returned about one minute later and recorded himself on his cellphone urinating on the girl, prosecutors said.

Nhiwatiwa again left. A neighbor later called Euclid police and said a man, later identified as Nhiwatiwa, was acting strange and looking inside people’s cars.

The girl’s mother reported the incident to Euclid police, who pieced together the connection, prosecutors said.

Nhiwatiwa turned himself in to police on Tuesday.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association Jeff Follmer declined comment.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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E-cigarette firms probed over health concerns by U.S. House panel
« Reply #13804 on: August 21, 2019, 05:36:04 PM »
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four dominant e-cigarette manufacturers face a probe into the health impacts of their products, as the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee asked on Wednesday about the firms’ research and marketing practices.

The committee sent letters to Juul Labs Inc, 35% owned by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc (MO.N), Fontem Ventures, Japan Tobacco Inc (2914.T), and Reynolds American Inc, a unit of British American Tobacco Plc (BATS.L).

The letter to Juul asked if the company has conducted or financed studies on the health implications of using its products and the effectiveness of Juul in helping users quit smoking. It asked if Juul has sent information to the Food and Drug Administration.

Kaelan Hollon, a spokeswoman for Reynolds American, said the company is reviewing the letter and believes “minors should never use tobacco products, including vapor products.”

Japan Tobacco said in a statement it welcomes any opportunity to “set out the responsible approaches” it takes in its marketing.

Juul and Fontem Ventures did not respond to requests for comment.

The probe comes amid growing scrutiny of the e-cigarette industry by lawmakers. A separate House panel in July released internal Juul emails that committee staff described as attempts to “enter schools and convey its messaging directly to teenage children.”

James Monsees, Juul’s co-founder and chief product officer, told the panel the company’s target audience is adult cigarette smokers.

Representative Frank Pallone, the Democratic chair of the committee, cited vaping-related lung illnesses recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He requested answers and documents by Sept. 20.

The CDC said on Wednesday it is investigating 153 possible cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use in 16 states. No deaths have been reported, they said.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Six-minute lithium battery recharge for phones and cars on way
« Reply #13805 on: August 21, 2019, 05:40:36 PM »
Echion Technologies, the Sawston-based battery specialist spun out of Cambridge University, is preparing to commercialise technology which has been trialled to allow charging times for both mobiles and electric cars to six minutes.

The development could revolutionise the electric transport era, allowing electric car owners to recharge at any garage over a cup of coffee rather than having to stay close enough to recharge overnight at home.

The restrictions are being lifted thanks to technology which involves replacing graphite with a new material, possibly a compound - but Dr Jean De La Verpilliere isn't saying what.

Echion is the brainchild of Dr De La Verpilliere. Two years ago, while studying for a PhD in nanoscience at the University of Cambridge, he created a material that could be used in lithium batteries. In 2017 - the final year of his phD - he founded Echion, with a focus and expertise on high performance materials innovations for lithium, or Li-ion, batteries. Echion "engages with chemicals and battery cell manufacturers to integrate its materials solutions into next-generation products". Currently, materials are simply ‘dropped in’ to lithium battery infrastructure.

One of the materials is graphite, which Echion has replaced with its own material.

“The powders are the central component of a lithium battery,” Jean says. “This is a new kind of powder which allows you to recharge in six minutes, not 45 minutes. This includes a car, so your electric car is almost as easy to charge as it is to refuel conventionally.”

There’s another benefit: the new material doesn’t explode.

“The problem with the usual powders is that when you fast-charge them they can cause an explosion. With the new material – which I can’t tell you any more about – it will accept fast-charging with no safety hazard, unlike graphite."

Aided by two academic supervisors, Echion secured funding from Cambridge Enterprise. Today, the company can produce 1kg of powders a day, enough for a single car battery- but that's about to change.

“We’re working on methods to make powders which are scaleable and where 1,000 tonnes could be made quite easily in factories," says Jean. "We have a prototype now, and are moving towards commercialisation early next year. The tests have to be validated beforehand.”

A second investor, Newable Private Investing, has joined Cambridge Enterprise. Newable’s investment director Alex Sleigh said: “As an investment team, we felt the product that Echion was producing was superior to anyone else in the market, particularly with regards to the time required to charge the batteries.

“Furthermore, the support that Echion received from a world-class institution in the form of Cambridge Enterprise gave us huge confidence, allied to our view that the majority of autonomous vehicles in the future will be powered by battery technology.”

Echion is now looking to hire two sales representatives for commercialisation in 2020. Echion has held productive conversations with a number of OEM companies while also securing an official partnership with Vantage Power, a company that designs and manufactures electric and hybrid systems for buses and heavy goods vehicles.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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(HELHEIM GLACIER, Greenland) — This is where Earth’s refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise.

New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what’s happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it “the end of the planet.” He is referring to geography more than the future. Yet in many ways this place is where the planet’s warmer and watery future is being written.

It is so warm here, just inside the Arctic Circle, that on an August day, coats are left on the ground and Holland and colleagues work on the watery melting ice without gloves. In one of the closest towns, Kulusuk, the morning temperature reached a shirtsleeve 52 degrees Fahrenheit (10.7 degrees Celsius).

The ice Holland is standing on is thousands of years old. It will be gone within a year or two, adding yet more water to rising seas worldwide.

Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice — maybe more — will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. That’s enough water to flood Pennsylvania or the country of Greece about a foot (35 centimeters) deep.

In just the five days from July 31 to Aug. 3, more than 58 billion tons (53 billion metric tons) melted from the surface. That’s over 40 billion tons more than the average for this time of year. And that 58 billion tons doesn’t even count the huge calving events or the warm water eating away at the glaciers from below, which may be a huge factor.

And one of the places hit hardest this hot Greenland summer is here on the southeastern edge of the giant frozen island: Helheim, one of Greenland’s fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles (10 kilometers) since scientists came here in 2005.

Several scientists, such as NASA oceanographer Josh Willis, who is also in Greenland, studying melting ice from above, said what’s happening is a combination of man-made climate change and natural but weird weather patterns. Glaciers here do shrink in the summer and grow in the winter, but nothing like this year.

Summit Station, a research camp nearly 2 miles high (3,200 meters) and far north, warmed to above freezing twice this year for a record total of 16.5 hours. Before this year, that station was above zero for only 6.5 hours in 2012, once in 1889 and also in the Middle Ages.

This year is coming near but not quite passing the extreme summer of 2012 — Greenland’s worst year in modern history for melting, scientists report.

“If you look at climate model projections, we can expect to see larger areas of the ice sheet experiencing melt for longer durations of the year and greater mass loss going forward,” said University of Georgia ice scientist Tom Mote. “There’s every reason to believe that years that look like this will become more common.”

A NASA satellite found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons of ice a year between 2003 and 2016, with the loss rate generally getting worse over that period. Nearly all of the 28 Greenland glaciers that Danish climate scientist Ruth Mottram measured are retreating, especially Helheim.

At Helheim, the ice, snow and water seem to go on and on, sandwiched by bare dirt mountains that now show no signs of ice but get covered in the winter. The only thing that gives a sense of scale is the helicopter carrying Holland and his team. It’s dwarfed by the landscape, an almost imperceptible red speck against the ice cliffs where Helheim stops and its remnants begin.

Those ice cliffs are somewhere between 225 feet (70 meters) and 328 feet (100 meters) high. Just next to them are Helheim’s remnants — sea ice, snow and icebergs — forming a mostly white expanse, with a mishmash of shapes and textures. Frequently water pools amid that white, glimmering a near-fluorescent blue that resembles windshield wiper fluid or Kool-Aid.

As pilot Martin Norregaard tries to land his helicopter on the broken-up part of what used to be glacier — a mush called a melange — he looks for ice specked with dirt, a sign that it’s firm enough for the chopper to set down on. Pure white ice could conceal a deep crevasse that leads to a cold and deadly plunge.

Holland and team climb out to install radar and GPS to track the ice movement and help explain why salty, warm, once-tropical water attacking the glacier’s “underbelly” has been bubbling to the surface

“It takes a really long time to grow an ice sheet, thousands and thousands of years, but they can be broken up or destroyed quite rapidly,” Holland said.

Holland, like NASA’s Willis, suspects that warm, salty water that comes in part from the Gulf Stream in North America is playing a bigger role than previously thought in melting Greenland’s ice. And if that’s the case, that’s probably bad news for the planet, because it means faster and more melting and higher sea level rise. Willis said that by the year 2100, Greenland alone could cause 3 or 4 feet (more than 1 meter) of sea level rise.

So it’s crucial to know how much of a role the air above and the water below play.

“What we want for this is an ice sheet forecast,” Holland said.

In this remote landscape, sound travels easily for miles. Every several minutes there’s a faint rumbling that sounds like thunder, but it’s not. It’s ice cracking.

In tiny Kulusuk, about a 40-minute helicopter ride away, Mugu Utuaq says the winter that used to last as much as 10 months when he was a boy can now be as short as five months. That matters to him because as the fourth-ranked dogsledder in Greenland, he has 23 dogs and needs to race them.

They can’t race in the summer, but they still have to eat. So Utuaq and friends go whale hunting with rifles in small boats. If they succeed, which this day they didn’t, the dogs can eat whale.

“People are getting rid of their dogs because there’s no season,” said Yewlin, who goes by one name. He used to run a sled dog team for tourists at a hotel in neighboring Tasiilaq, but they no longer can do that.

Yes, the melting glaciers, less ice and warmer weather are noticeable and much different from his childhood, said Kulusuk Mayor Justus Paulsen, 58. Sure, it means more fuel is needed for boats to get around, but that’s OK, he said.

“We like it because we like to have a summer,” Paulsen said.

But Holland looks out at Helheim glacier from his base camp and sees the bigger picture. And it’s not good, he said. Not for here. Not for Earth as a whole.

“It’s kind of nice to have a planet with glaciers around,” Holland said.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline azozeo

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Re: Area 51 events in Nevada prompt emergency crowd planning
« Reply #13807 on: August 21, 2019, 08:08:39 PM »
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Fearing they could be overwhelmed with visitors, officials in the remote Nevada county that’s home to the Area 51 military base have drafted an emergency declaration and a plan to team resources with neighboring counties and the state ahead of events next month tied to the “Storm Area 51” internet drive.

The elected board governing the county with about 5,200 residents conditionally approved two events Monday for tiny desert towns near the once top-secret U.S. Air Force test area known in popular lore as a site for government studies of outer space aliens.

“Oh, we’re taking this seriously,” Lincoln County Commission Chairman Varlin Higbee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal . “With the possibility of 35,000 to 40,000 people showing up, yeah, this is serious.”

County officials are concerned that a surge of visitors will crowd campsites, gas stations and public medical, internet and cellphone services. Officials count just 184 hotel rooms in the county nearly twice the size of the Connecticut.

“The cellphone system is going to go down,” Higbee said. “You get more than a couple of hundred people there, and it’s going to crash. Cell service won’t be available.”

The Little A’Le’Inn in the community of Rachel, population about 50, is scheduling a three-day music festival Sept. 20-22 dubbed Alienstock. Hotel co-owner Connie West has said she’s expecting 10,000 people.

The Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko, a town of about 120 a 45-minute drive from Rachel, plans a Sept. 20-21 exposition.

The events evolved from an internet post inviting people to run into the remote test area in the Nevada desert that has long been the focus of UFO conspiracy theories.

County Sheriff Kerry Lee said Tuesday he was meeting with state emergency planning officials.

County officials have also met with officials from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Clark County, the sheriffs of White Pine and Nye counties, and the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Eric Holt, county emergency manager, asked commissioners to “pre-sign” the emergency declaration.

Higbee, who has authority to invoke a declaration, said it would let Lincoln County seek financial help and emergency personnel from the state.

“We don’t know where or how far our resources are going to go,” he said. “A lot of it is equipment and financing. The county only has so much money to deal with.”

Higbee said visitors should not to try to enter Area 51.

“We don’t want them going down to government property; it will probably be blocked off,” he said. “We don’t want civilian people in contact with the military at all. That will get ugly.”

The conditional permits require festival and event organizers to submit final plans to the Lincoln County Commission by Sept. 3.

“They have to have their security, medical, parking plans and few other things (ready),” Higbee said.

I read where the cat that started this nonsense was raided by the FBI. What a doofus.  :coffee:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline knarf

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Israel eases rules on cyber weapons exports despite criticism
« Reply #13808 on: August 22, 2019, 08:28:14 AM »
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel is easing export rules on offensive cyber weapons, despite accusations by human rights and privacy groups that its technologies are used by some governments to spy on political foes and crush dissent.

A rule change by the defense ministry means companies can now obtain exemptions on marketing license for the sale of some products to specific countries, a source close to the cyber sector told Reuters.

Israel, like other big defense exporters, closely guards details of its weapons sales and its export rules are not widely known, but the defense ministry confirmed the change had gone into force about a year ago in response to Reuters’ questions.

Industry specialists say the change makes a speedier approval process possible for the sale of cyber weapons, or spyware, which are used to break into electronic devices and monitor online communications.

Israel’s defense ministry said the rule change “was made to facilitate effective service to Israeli industries while maintaining and protecting international standards of export control and supervision”.

It said a marketing-license exemption was granted only under “certain conditions related to the security clearance of the product and assessment of the country toward which the product will be marketed” and that companies were still required to hold an export license. The Israeli government and the companies declined to comment on which neighboring states are among spyware customers.

In a sign the government could make more changes, the economy ministry – which is responsible for promoting economic growth and exports – is setting up a division to handle exports of cyber technologies that have offensive and defensive capabilities.

“This is part of a reform that is essentially allocating more resources to the economy ministry for this important issue,” a ministry spokeswoman said.

Advanced cyber weapons were until recently deployed only by the most technically sophisticated government spy agencies, such as those in the United States, Israel, China and Russia.

But now a robust commercial market for powerful hacking tools and services has emerged, with former government cyber experts from the United States, Israel and other countries playing a big role in the trade.

That has brought new scrutiny to how cyber weapons are bought, sold and deployed, and the actions of governments in regulating the trade. Israeli companies, including NSO Group and Verint, and defense contractor Elbit Systems, are among the world leaders in the growing global market for cyber weapons. The software tools exploit vulnerabilities in cellphones and other tech products to gain access and covertly monitor users.

Some privacy and human rights groups say Israel’s controls on the sale of cyber weapons are inadequate. Earlier this year, Amnesty said the government should take a tougher line against export license that have “resulted in human rights abuses”.

The Israeli government declined to comment on accusations of rights abuses.

Rights groups say neighboring states including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the Israeli firms’ spyware customers.

Diplomatic considerations can come into play and help speed sales. Tel Aviv University Professor Isaac Ben Israel, the father of Israel’s cyber sector and chairman of its space agency, said there was nothing wrong with using technology to form a bond with neighbors that have shunned formal ties.

“This is a legitimate tool in diplomacy,” he said.

Government officials in Saudi Arabia and the UAE did not respond to requests for comments regarding claims they had purchased spyware from Israeli companies.

Israeli companies say they comply with government export rules and vet customers to ensure the technology is used for legitimate purposes by foreign governments.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cyber conference in June there were demands to regulate the sector more as it grows. “But I think we have to take the risk, and it’s a considerable risk, of regulating less in order to grow more,” he said.

Israel’s approval process for exporting cyber weapons is more rigorous than in some other countries such as the United States and Britain, said Daniel Reisner, a partner at law firm Herzog Fox Neeman who represents many Israeli cyber firms. That put Israel’s industry “at a huge disadvantage”, he said.

Under the rule change, the approval process can be up to four months quicker and this has been “a huge help”, he added. Previously, it could take close to a year for a new company to obtain approval, he said.

Ron Deibert, director of Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, which focuses on digital espionage and has uncovered alleged spyware abuses in countries including the United Arab Emirates and Mexico, said it was “unfortunate” that Israel was loosening its rules.

“Our research shows there is a crisis in civil society because of the abuse of commercial spyware,” Deibert told Reuters in an email.

A United Nations report in June called for a global moratorium on the sale of cyber weapons until human rights-compliant safeguards are in place in Israel and other countries.

Globally, a 42-nation weapons export agreement known as the Wassenaar Arrangement covers “intrusion software” and internet surveillance systems. Israel is not a party to the agreement, but says it is compliant.

David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression, criticized Israel’s controls as “shrouded in secrecy” and called for all cyber weapon sales to be conditioned on a human rights review. Citizen Lab has linked NSO cellphone hacking software known as Pegasus to spying scandals in Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. NSO says all its sales are approved by Israel’s government. Reisner, who serves as a member of an ethics committee at NSO, said the company had voluntarily turned down $200 million worth of business between 2016 and 2018.

Software from Elbit has been linked by Citizen Lab to an espionage campaign targeting Ethiopian dissidents. Elbit declined to comment.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Brazil environment minister heckled over Amazon fires
« Reply #13809 on: August 22, 2019, 08:37:16 AM »
Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has been heckled at a meeting on climate change over the record number of fires in the Amazon.

Satellite data published by the National Institute for Space research (Inpe) shows an increase of 85% this year for all of Brazil.

Some of those at Wednesday's meeting shouted "the Amazon region is burning", as Mr Salles stepped on to the podium.

Conservationists have blamed Brazil's government for the Amazon's plight.

They say Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has encouraged the clearing of land by loggers and farmers, thereby speeding up the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

On Thursday Mr Bolsonaro said the fires were being investigated but said that the government lacked the resources to fight the flames.

He also denied he had blamed NGOs for lighting the fires, a day after appearing to suggest they had done so as revenge for his government slashing their funding.

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

What happened to Mr Salles?

He took to the stage at the Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week in the Brazilian city of Salvador on Wednesday.

The conference, organised by the United Nations, aims to promote action on climate change in the region and is attended by representatives from non-governmental organisations, businesses and educational organisations, among others.

As soon as his name was announced most of those attending the opening session of the plenary booed and shouted, only a few people clapped.
What are people upset about?

Climate activists and conservationists have been scathing about the government of Jair Bolsonaro and its policies, which favour development over conservation.

They say that since President Bolsonaro took office the Amazon rainforest has suffered losses and an accelerated rate.

Their anger was further fuelled by satellite data showing a steep rise in fires in the Amazon region this year. The figures suggest there have been more than 75,000 fires so far this year for the whole of Brazil, compared to just over 40,000 over the same period in 2018.

The figures and satellite images showing most of the state of Roraima, in northern Brazil, covered by smoke have shocked many Brazilians and triggered a global Twitter trend under the hashtag #prayforamazonia.

The US space agency, Nasa, has on the other hand said that overall fire activity in the Amazon basin is slightly below average this year.

The region is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
Amazon fires cause stir on social media

BBC UGC and Social News team

The plight of the Amazon has seen millions take to social media to decry reports of a massive yearly increase in forest fires. But some of the most striking - and viral - pictures shared by social media users are not all they seem.

The hashtag #PrayForAmazonia started to be widely used on Tuesday. It has been included in almost 3 million tweets since. The most widely shared tweet using that hashtag - with more than a million likes and retweets - includes two aerial images of forest fires, neither of which show the current situation.

One dates as far back as 1989. And other widely shared images include fires as far away as Siberia or the United States.

Likewise, video of a Pataxo woman angrily accusing illegal ranchers of starting fires has almost 5 million views. But the video has been shared on social media since at least July. So while it may point to one potential reason for the reported increase in forest fires, it's not necessarily a depiction of the present situation.
How has President Bolsonaro reacted?

President Bolsonaro further angered those concerned over the spike in fires by brushing off the latest data.

He argued that it was the season of the "queimada", when farmers burn land to clear it before planting but Inpe has noted that the number of fires is not in line with those normally reported during the dry season.

The president also joked about the criticism directed against him, saying "I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame."

Later he appeared to suggest that non-governmental organisations had set fires, as revenge for his government slashing their funding. He presented no evidence and gave no names to support this theory, saying there were "no written records about the suspicions".

"So, there could be... I'm not affirming it, criminal action by these 'NGOers' to call attention against my person, against the government of Brazil. This is the war that we are facing," he said on Wednesday, before subsequently denying having blamed the NGOs for lighting the fires on Friday.

It is not the first time Mr Bolsonaro has cast doubt on figures suggesting that the Amazon is deteriorating rapidly.

Last month, he accused Inpe's director of lying about the scale of deforestation and trying to undermine the government. It came after Inpe published data showing an 88% increase in deforestation in the Amazon in June compared to the same month a year ago.

The director of the agency later announced that he was being sacked amid the row.
What causes the fires?

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching.

"The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident," Inpe researcher Alberto Setzer told Reuters news agency.

Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were "a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures".

Over the past decade, previous Brazilian governments had managed to reduce deforestation with action by federal agencies and a system of fines.

But Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers have criticised the penalties and overseen a fall in confiscations of timber and convictions for environmental crimes.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy was wounded in the shoulder Wednesday after a sniper opened fire on the agency's Lancaster station, authorities said.

The shooting triggered a massive manhunt and evacuations of an apartment complex next to the station, but no suspect was in custody as of Thursday morning.

The incident occurred at about 2:48 p.m. at the station at 501 West Lancaster Boulevard, a sheriff's spokesperson said.

Authorities immediately set up a perimeter in the area and launched a massive search, focused on the nearby four-story apartment building.

The injured deputy was conscious and breathing after being transported to a hospital by ambulance, officials said.

Sheriff's department officials later identified the deputy as Angel Reinosa, a 21-year-old patrol trainee who had been with the department about a year. He was walking to his car in the employee parking lot when he was shot from a four-story building overlooking the station.

He was heard calling in the shooting over emergency radios.

"I have taken shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad," the deputy is heard saying over the radio. "I think I'm hit in the right shoulder."

He was treated and released from the hospital and did not need surgery, as his ballistic vest absorbed the brunt of the bullet.

"A sniper took out one of our deputies," Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said. "And the only reason that deputy is alive is because he had his vest on."

"He was getting ready to take that vest off. Had he done so, it would've been a much more tragic situation."

Parris visited the deputy in the hospital.

"He's in a lot of pain but he's going to be OK," Parris said. "He took a bullet here but he had his vest on, so it deflected up and hit his shoulder."

Parris said it appears the shooting was a random act and not one directed at that specific deputy.

"It was not targeted on this specific deputy. It was any deputy would do."

Initial reports indicate two shots were fired from a four-story residential building near the sheriff's station. The residential building is next to a facility that provides mental-health treatment.

Although Parris said that the apartment building was for housing mental-health patients, a spokesperson said that is not the case - that the apartments and the mental-health treatment are separate buildings and unrelated operations and the housing is not specifically for those receiving mental-health treatment.

Residents of the building told Eyewitness News there are some mental-health patients who live in the complex, but the building is not specifically designated for that purpose.

The building is low-income government subsidized housing. Hundreds of residents were evacuated as deputies went floor-to-floor to search for the shooter.

Some residents say it is not a safe place to live.

"They let people live in our apartment complex who have mental illness," said Terrisa McGhee, who lives in the apartment complex. "It's kind of scary because there's no security onsite 24 hours. Management is never here when things happen. The cops are in there constantly. So its not a surprise."

Small teams of heavily armed deputies, some wearing tactical gear, were seen going from vehicle to vehicle in a parking structure near the sheriff's station. The search was being conducted amid 105-degree temperatures in Lancaster.

The public was urged to avoid the area bounded by Lancaster Boulevard, Sierra Highway, West Jackman Street and Beech Avenue.

Later Wednesday evening, two people were taken into custody, but officials said they had just been uncooperative with the search and evacuation orders, and were not considered suspects.

The search of the complex was ended before 11 p.m. with no suspect in custody and residents were being allowed back into their homes.

Sheriff's department officials were just grateful that the deputy had avoided more serious injury.

"He's been treated, he's doing well in high spirits," said sheriff's Capt. Todd Weber. "His family's with him. We expect he'll be fine, full recovery."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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and there’s only one solution

House Democrats continue to move in a plodding and methodical way toward the impeachment of Donald Trump. On Aug. 8, the House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., announced the formal launch of impeachment proceedings.

But the Democratic Party’s leadership is also sending mixed signals, vacillating between being relatively direct about their desire to remove Trump from office and then signaling a clear lack of enthusiasm for actually doing so.

It may soon be too late to impeach and remove Donald Trump from the presidency before he has done irreparable harm to American democracy — and perhaps before he moves to an even more dangerous stage in his fascist-authoritarian campaign to usurp the rule of law in his favor.

Donald Trump continues to tell his supporters that he may be in office longer than two terms. He and other Republicans and their media supporters continue to lie about “voter fraud” and falsely claim that millions of “illegal aliens” regularly vote for the Democratic Party. This is a way of delegitimizing the 2020 presidential election so they can claim that it was “stolen” if Trump is defeated. In reality, it is the Republicans who have engaged in systematic voter suppression aimed at distorting or undermining American democracy.

Donald Trump has failed to follow through on his oath to protect the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic. He aids and abets America’s enemies, and clearly means to encourage Russia to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. Why? Because Vladimir Putin’s agents are working to keep Donald Trump and the Republican Party in power, over and against the wishes of the American public.

White supremacist and other right-wing terrorists are now the No. 1 domestic threat to the safety of the American people. But Donald Trump refuses to commit the full weight of the federal government to stop their attacks, which have killed dozens of people during his presidency. Why? Because white supremacists and other right-wing extremists support Donald Trump. Trump in turn does not want to alienate them. In many ways he has given aid and comfort to their hateful ideology, and tacitly endorsed their acts of violence.

Trump continues to use scripted violence and stochastic terrorism against his political opponents. Most recently, he has targeted Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib with slurs that they are anti-Semites, and by implication that the Democratic Party hates Jewish people. It is no coincidence that both women are Muslim and nonwhite. In his efforts to create racial discord and violence, on Tuesday Trump also claimed that Jewish Americans who support Democrats are somehow “disloyal.”  This is another example of Trump’s blatant anti-Semitism.

How did special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress help or hurt the quest to impeach Donald Trump? Did Mueller reveal the entire truth about Donald Trump and his inner circle’s collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice and other probable crimes? Are the Democrats approaching the impeachment of Donald Trump in a tactically and strategically sound manner? How would the framers of our Constitution respond to Donald Trump’s behavior as president? Have the Constitution’s structural flaws allowed Trump to undermine American democracy and the rule of law?

In an effort to answer these questions and many others, I recently spoke with Laurence Tribe, a leading scholar of constitutional law and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. Tribe is the author of several books, including his most recent (co-written with Joshua Matz), “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. You can also listen to my full conversation with Laurence Tribe through the player embedded below.

When you watched Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress several weeks ago, what did you see?

Mueller’s testimony in the morning before the House Judiciary Committee was very sad. The Republicans engaged in partisan attacks on him. Mueller was obviously tired. He was also a lot older than people remembered him to be. Mueller was not as much in command of all the information and details of his own report as he might have been. And Mueller was clearly being very careful to say as little as possible.

By the end of the morning I really thought the whole matter was going to end being in rather bad shape. Even though Mueller’s testimony was not supposed to be theater, the reality is that his performance matters because of public perception. If we don’t wake people up to understand the gravity of what is happening with Trump’s presidency and his behavior, then American democracy will not be saved. Without doing something to really engage the public, while also communicating how dire the situation is with Donald Trump’s administration, a great opportunity will have been missed. That is sad. But it is also reality.

In the afternoon things were quite different when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee. When Mueller was focused on the attacks on the United States and our national security, as opposed to narrow legalistic issues about obstruction of justice, he really came to life. And it was obvious that as Rep. Adam Schiff rather expertly led Mueller through the conclusions he reached in the Trump-Russia report, Mueller was much more open. Mueller made it absolutely clear to anyone who is paying attention even on a basic level that United States democracy has been under attack.

Part of the attack helped elect Donald Trump. Trump invited this attack. Trump welcomed this attack on the United States. Trump exploited it — and this attack on America is going on every day and not only from Russia but perhaps even other countries as well. With the replacement of Dan Coats as director of national intelligence,  we are in even worse shape as a country.

Mueller’s afternoon testimony was an absolute bugle call to action. I was glad that it began to wake up more people in the House of Representatives. I was very much encouraged by the fact that the House really has begun what amounts to a de facto impeachment inquiry.

Mueller knows so much more about what actually transpired — and is still going on with Trump and Russia and related matters — than he offered during his testimony. Was I misreading Mueller’s behavior?

I agree. There is no question that if one reads the actual Mueller report with an open mind, rather than reading it for whatever preconceived conclusion one may bring to it, is absolutely clear that a hostile foreign nation undertook actions with the goal of influencing the 2016 presidential election for Donald Trump. This was done implicitly and with his invitation. There is no question about that fact. Mueller says as much in the report.

When Robert Mueller says, “I couldn’t find enough evidence to charge anyone with conspiracy,” that is legal mumbo-jumbo. That parsing was based on conclusions he had already made, based on, I think, a rather fallacious but nonetheless governing memo of the Office of Legal Counsel that he cannot indict a sitting president for anything, no matter what the president may do.

Therefore it did not matter that Mueller did not find sufficient evidence of what the law calls “conspiracy.” Mueller found plenty of evidence of actions by Donald Trump’s people to win power with the help of a foreign country, a country that has America’s worst interests and not our best interests at heart. Volume One of Mueller’s report nailed it in terms of showing that Donald Trump and his inner circle engaged in actions that may technically not be treason but certainly are acts of treachery and a betrayal of the United States.

Volume Two of Mueller’s report found that all of the elements of obstruction of justice were met. There were over a thousand prosecutors, Republicans as well as Democrats, who said in plain English that Mueller’s report shows that Donald Trump is a criminal and if Trump were not president of the United States he would have been indicted for witness tampering and many other things.

Robert Mueller’s report absolutely nailed the president. If the framers of the United States Constitution could be resurrected from their graves, they would impeach and remove Donald Trump immediately. But it is up to our representatives. That is what the House of Representatives is doing by gathering evidence. An impeachment inquiry will overcome phony claims of privilege and immunity by Donald Trump. When the House of Representatives is exercising what the Constitution calls its “sole power of impeachment,” then all bets are off in terms of stonewalling by the president’s defenders.

At some point the courts will directly order testimony and the unsealing of the grand jury material. If Attorney General [Bill] Barr tries to defy those orders or if Trump tries to defy them, then all of the people who are asleep at the switch and who are not yet ready to pull the impeachment trigger will wake up. I do not think that even Mitch McConnell would sit still if someone like Donald Trump literally defies an order from the United States Supreme Court. But then again I have certainly been wrong before about how far “Moscow Mitch” will go to do Donald Trump’s bidding.

The Constitution is being bent, abused and almost broken by Trump’s regime. Is this a function of  fundamental flaws in the Constitution, or is it that elected officials have failed and not the document itself?

The latter. The Constitution is not perfect. It has any number of flaws, such as the Electoral College. But despite its structural flaws the United States Constitution is pretty good — if we have the right people leading the country. But if you have a Congress of the United States that has no interest in doing anything but getting re-elected, and if they’re slavishly following one leader and they’re unwilling to hold them to account, then the United States and the American people are really in trouble.

If Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump would be willing to defy the United States Supreme Court, and if after having done such a thing they got away with it, then the United States really is stuck. We have lost our democracy. But I’m not convinced that we’ve gone that far. Even if it’s true that a lot of Trump’s people and other Republicans do not possess any deeply held beliefs in anything but themselves — don’t care about anything except about their own fame, their own power, their own wealth — in the end the people rule in the United States.

Until the military rolls out and starts doing to the American people what Vladimir Putin and his other dictator friends around the world are doing to their people, the people in power in America are going to eventually have to fold. When enough Americans rise up and say, “Enough, we’re not going to let you defy the courts, we’re not going to let you defy the rule of law,” then we will get our country back. But until that moment the United States and the American people are in real trouble with Donald Trump and his allies.

Demagogues such as Donald Trump expand their power, especially in a failing democracy, by bending norms and then outright breaking them once the earlier precedent has been normalized.  For example, Donald Trump has said that he loves have temporary Cabinet-level appointees in senior positions because then he has the “flexibility” to act without congressional confirmation and oversight. His removal of Dan Coats, as you mentioned earlier, is one of the most recent examples of this strategy.

And Trump is doing that without actually violating the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a president can’t govern with temporary appointees. But Trump is bending all the rules and norms. I’m assuming that if Donald Trump defies the courts people will finally have had enough. But when there is a Supreme Court with [Brett] Kavanaugh and [Neil] Gorsuch, and when everything depends on whether [Chief Justice John] Roberts will hold the line, it is by a pretty thin thread on which American democracy and the rule of law hangs.

Trump has said that, “Well, Article Two allows me to do whatever I want. I have all these powers …”

Such arguments, where Donald Trump and his defenders try to claim that Article Two says that Trump can do whatever he wants, are just an example of idiocy and illiteracy. Article Two says nothing about how Trump as president can do everything he wants. It says he has the executive power and the duty to see to it that the laws are faithfully executed. It does not say the president can ignore or overrun the law. The United State Constitution is fine. But with Donald Trump there is a man who is president that does not know how to read and is willing to violate the Constitution as well.

The American people have to learn about the Constitution and their own democracy in order to protect it. A small-R republican form of government is a representative form of democracy that is governed by laws and by people that we elect. This form of government only works if the people pay attention to what is happening in their own country and what its leaders are doing. If the people do not vote, or if they don’t bother to educate themselves or their children, then the American people get what they deserve — and that is pretty horrible.

Are the Democrats where they should be in terms of impeaching Donald Trump?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done, in my opinion, what she needs to do in terms of empowering the House Judiciary Committee, with the cooperation of the Intelligence Committee, to dig into everything in an impeachment inquiry. She’s done it without holding a floor vote that would embarrass a number of her more conservative members. It’s a question of whether the courts will move quickly enough. We cannot be sure that will happen.

But if the courts move quickly enough so that by this fall former White House counsel Don McGahn will have testified to the fact that Donald Trump ordered him to fire Mueller and then ordered him to lie about it, more people will wake up to this crisis — I hope. When leaks begin coming from the national security and intelligence apparatus which show that, even though Dan Coats is gone, there are still some patriots working in those agencies, it will be clear that the United States is in danger. Again, that will be a moment when more people will see that something needs to be done and Donald Trump needs to be impeached.

Where is America’s “manila envelope” moment where somebody inside the intelligence or judicial system says, “Here’s what was redacted” or “Here’s what Mueller was winking at during his testimony”? If you could talk to that person what would you tell them?

I would tell them that if they care about the country, if they care about what their kids and their grandkids will inherit, they ought to realize that if there was ever a time to blow a whistle and put that manila envelope in the mail, this is it. There is no reason to sit on secrets to protect the country’s national security when the national security of the United States is being threatened every minute by Donald Trump.

What specific crimes should Donald Trump be impeached for?

Donald Trump is violating his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Trump is doing that by inviting hostile foreign powers to invade our country, invade our sovereignty, invade our election system. Donald Trump is allowing this so that he can personally profit and enrich himself in violation of the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the Constitution. Donald Trump is allowing himself to be compromised by hostile foreign powers and is covering that up through obstructing justice and tampering with witnesses and committing any number of other felonies to hide his tracks.

All of those examples would lead to articles of impeachment. I also believe that Donald Trump should be impeached for how he is exploiting racial divisions to incite hatred and violence in America, violating human rights at the U.S.-Mexico border, and is in general disgracing the office of the presidency and the people of the United States.

Despite its flaws, the United States Constitution has long been seen as a model for emerging democracies around the world. How have Donald Trump and his administration changed that view?

The United States looks bad. There was a time when various countries were asking me to help them write their constitutions, such as Václav Havel in the Czech Republic and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. I think the odds that people abroad would look to American experts to help them write their constitutions now is considerably less. Although our Constitution looks good on paper, it has not fared terribly well in recent iterations, in terms of the people we are appointing to interpret it and the people we are appointing to preserve and enforce it.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Overstock Ex-CEO’s Bonkers Rant to Fox Business: I’m Part of ‘Deep State’
« Reply #13812 on: August 22, 2019, 05:09:38 PM »
Patrick Byrne teared up when he said he felt his involvement in a Deep State conspiracy was partly responsible for the recent mass shootings in the United States.

Hours after stepping down as the chief executive of online retail giant over his tryst with Russian spy Maria Butina and what he described as his role in a “deep state” government plot, Patrick Byrne appeared on Fox Business Network on Thursday to ostensibly make sense of both his baffling claims and his resignation.

He made sense of neither.

Wearing a hat emblazoned with Make America Grateful Again, Byrne was given free rein by Bulls and Bears host David Asman, and he immediately took advantage of that, taking the program on a wild ride.

After briefly discussing the financial shape of the company he’s leaving, Byrne said he was “ejecting” from because he’d been warned that if he came back to America, the “Washington apparatus is going to grind me into dust,” an assertion he would make several times throughout the 16-minute segment.

Referencing his previous claims that he had helped the “Men in Black” with their Clinton and Russia investigations, Byrne stated that he had assisted law enforcement with cracking a murder 17 years ago and that this eventually resulted in them asking for his help in 2015 and 2016.

“I figured out the name of who sent me the orders and this has been confirmed. The name of the man who sent me was Peter Strzok,” Byrne exclaimed, naming the embattled former FBI agent at the center of the right’s Spygate conspiracies. “This is going to be quite a whirlwind.”

At times bursting into tears, Byrne alleged there was a “big coverup” of “political espionage” that was connected to President Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, insisting that “this is not a theory” of his because he was “in the room when it happened.”

“Both catching my friend's murderer and taking on Wall Street were consistent with my values and it was my honor to help the Men in Black and it was the third time that they came to me,” he said at one point. “And I got some request, I did not know who the hell it came from and it was fishy and three years later on watching television and I realized who it was—it was Peter Strzok and [former Deputy FBI Director] Andy McCabe, that the orders came from.”

Byrne said he decided to come forward with his Deep State concerns because he felt guilty for recent mass shootings.

“But the issue is, I realized that these orders I got came from Peter Strzok, and as I put together things, I know much more than I should know and tried to keep silent,” he said. “Everybody in this country is gun nuts, and especially for the last year when I realized what I know, every time I see one of these things, somebody drives 600 miles to gun down 20 strangers in the mall, I feel a bit responsible.”

He also claimed federal investigators offered him a “one billion dollar bribe to keep quiet” and broke down emotionally when Asman asked about his mentor Warren Buffett, who Byrne described as “one of the great heroines of my life.”

Byrne wasn’t just focused on the Men in Black and political espionage, though. He also took some time to make a pitch for his former company.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Fruitport designs new $48M high school with places to hide from mass shooters
« Reply #13813 on: August 22, 2019, 05:14:51 PM »
Fruitport's $48M high school includes curved hallways and half walls to protect students, teachers, and staff.

FRUITPORT, Mich — As students in the Fruitport School District prepare to go back to school on Sept. 3 construction workers are busy finishing portions of a major construction that will be used by students this school year.

When completed, the new $48 million new Fruitport High School will include renovations to the existing building and major new sections.

The work is part of a bond voters approved in 2016. The entire project is expected to finish in 2021.

"Our contractors are making tremendous progress," said Fruitport Superintendent Bob Szymoniak.

The design of the new sections includes subtle safe spaces that can be used to protect students in the event of a shooting, and long curved hallways that would offer protection too.

"To cut down on the sight lines if we have an active shooter in the building," Szymoniak said.

By reducing the sight lines anyone with malicious intent would be unable to see the entire length of the hallway.

Cement block bump outs are also placed in the curved hallways.

"To cut down on sight lines further, it also gives an opportunity for students to hide back behind and hopefully get help from within the classroom," Szymoniak said.

Inside the classrooms students can hide in one corner that can't be seen from the hallway. Access controlled locks on all of the doors in our school district give school leaders the ability to lock down the entire district with the push of one button. And impact resistant film will go on all classroom windows in the new high school.

Szymoniak says by adding layers of safety it will buy students, teachers and staff time and it will protect lives as police respond to the scene.

"These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of buildings going into the future," he said.

Because of all the construction this school year the district is expecting to encounter parking challenges. And for a time, high school students won't have lockers.

Szymoniak says in the end the final product will be worth any temporary inconveniences. "This building will be the safest, most secure building in the state of Michigan when it opens," he said. "Our ask is that our community be very understanding, keep the eyes on the prize because when our high school is done it's going be magnificent."

A community open house is being planned for October. A special event will be held in December to mark the opening of all the new classrooms.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Brazil's Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate
« Reply #13814 on: August 22, 2019, 05:22:11 PM »
Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn that it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.
The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country's space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (known by the abbreviation INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.
There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That's more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.

The Amazon is often referred to as the planet's lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere.
It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.

Dramatic images and videos on social media show giant plumes of smoke rising from the greenery and lines of fire leaving blackened waste in their wake.
The smoke has reached all the way to Sao Paulo, more than 1,700 miles away. Images from the city show the sky pitch-black in the middle of the afternoon, the sun blanketed by smoke and ash.
The European Union's satellite program, Copernicus, released a map showing smoke from the fires spreading all along Brazil to the east Atlantic coast. The smoke has covered nearly half of the country and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The Amazon River stretches across several of these South American countries, but the majority -- more than two-thirds -- of the rainforest lies in Brazil.
According to INPE, more than 1½ soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day.
People worldwide are sharing their horror on social media. Fans of the K-Pop band BTS, who call themselves the Army, are even rallying on Twitter to spread word of the fires, with tens of thousands of people tweeting the hashtag #ArmyHelpThePlanet.
Activists blame Brazil's president
Environmental groups have long been campaigning to save the Amazon, blaming Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, for the endangerment of the vital rainforest. They accuse him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and encouraging deforestation.
Bolsonaro's environmental policies have been controversial from the start. A former army captain, he made campaign promises to restore the economy by exploring the Amazon's economic potential.

ust weeks ago, the director of INPE was fired after a spat with the president; the director had defended satellite data that showed deforestation was 88% higher in June than a year earlier, and Bolsonaro called the findings "lies."
Bolsonaro also criticized the agency's deforestation warnings as harmful for trade negotiations, according to the Agencia Brasil news agency.
Bolsonaro's pro-business stance may have emboldened loggers, farmers and miners to seize control of a growing area of Amazon land, Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the environmental nonprofit organization Observatorio do Clima (Climate Observatory), told CNN en Español last month.
Budget cuts and federal interference are making it even easier for people to exploit the rainforest. Brazil's environmental enforcement agency has seen its budget cut by $23 million, and official data sent to CNN by Observatorio do Clima shows the enforcement agency's operations have gone down since Bolsonaro was sworn in.
On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said that the recent wave of fires in the Amazon may have been caused by nongovernmental organizations in order to draw international criticism to his government.
"Crime exists, and we need to make sure that this type of crime does not increase. We took money away from the NGOs," he said.
"They are now feeling the pinch from the lack of funding. So, maybe the NGO types are conducting these criminal acts in order to generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government. This is the war we are facing."

In July, Greenpeace called Bolsonaro and his government a "threat to the climate equilibrium" and warned that in the long run, his policies would bear a "heavy cost" for the Brazilian economy.
Environmental activists and organizations like the World Wildlife Fund warn that if the Amazon reaches a point of no return, the rainforest could become a dry savannah, no longer habitable for much of its wildlife. If this happens, instead of being a source of oxygen, it could start emitting carbon -- the major driver of climate change.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'